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Cold Poached Salmon, Cucumber Sauce and Roasted Asparagus Potato Salad

salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photoCold Poached Salmon with Cucumber Sauce and Asparagus Potato Salad is one of the freshest tasting cold entrees to be had in the summer.  It almost makes you feel like a cool breeze is blowing on you.

It’s a simple dish to prepare and can be done ahead if desired.  If you poach the salmon ahead of time, wrap the salmon fillets tightly in plastic wrap so they don’t dry out.  The cucumber sauce can also be made ahead of time as long as you squeeze all the water from the cucumbers.

I use salmon fillets for this cold poached salmon  as salmon steaks, which are wonderful and often the first choice for this recipe by some, require removing pin bones, a task that is tedious.  If you buy your fillets and they have the skin on, remove it after poaching and cooling.  It will simply peel off.  Remove any of the brown fatty tissue under it.  

Roasted Asparagus Potato Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette is a notable addition to any potato salad collection.  Crisp asparagus is the perfect foil for lemon and basil.  Potatoes are great anyway they’re made.

When cooking the potatoes, cover them with several inches of water, bring to a boil, reduce to a very low boil immediately and cook until they a tester goes in easily but they are not mushy.  If they are boiled too hard the skins split and they break apart.  Cool them and then cut.  New or “B” potatoes are simply little red potatoes.  They are not a different potato, they simply harvest them early.  I  like them when I am using an unpeeled potato as the skins are more tender.  However, regular  size red potatoes can be substituted.

Red potatoes are more waxy than white which makes them hold together after cooking better.  When cut, they stay together.  White potatoes are a fluffier potato when cooked or baked, think mashed potatoes, French fries and baked potatoes.  All of them require a fluffy baked or cooked finish product.

For roasting asparagus, I prefer the standard size.  See Asparagus.  The asparagus is coated with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  It will maintain a bright green color and still have crunch, the perfect combination.  We used to make it this way at the shop and people would marvel at it.  Unfortunately half of them never believed this is all we did.  They were sure we had a secret we weren’t sharing.

The original recipe I developed for this used a Lemon Basil Mayonnaise which I absolutely love.  But because this is to accompany poached salmon which is dressed with a creamy sauce, I didn’t want two creamy sauces on the plate so I turned it into a vinaigrette.  Fresh basil and lemon rind are key to this dressing.

Lastly, be sure to serve this at room temperature for maximum enjoyment.

Court Bouillonsalmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photo
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs parsley
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns
4 6 ounce salmon fillets

Combine all of the ingredients except the salmon fillets in a pan large enough to hold the fillets in a single layer. salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photo Cover and simmer (do not boil) for 30 minutes.salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photo

With a slotted spoon or a spider, remove the vegetables and herbs.salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photoIf the fillets have “tails”, tuck them under to make them as much the same size as possible.  salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photoKeeping the court bouillon at a bare simmer, add the fillets.  salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photoPoach the salmon for 8 to 10 minutes.  They should be opaque and the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photo

Remove from the liquid and cool with film on top to prevent drying out.  Wrap well with foil and refrigerate.  salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photoThis may be done several days ahead if desired.

Cucumber Sauce
1 medium cucumber
1/ 2 cup sour cream (light is fine)
1 tablespoon  white vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dill, dried
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Peel the cucumber. Cut it in half.  salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photo Seed it by scraping out the seeds with a spoon, salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photopreferably a serrated spoon that is used for grapefruit.  salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photoShred the cucumber on a box grater with the largest shredder.salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photo

Place half the cucumbers in two paper towels or a tea towel and squeeze out all the water.salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photo
Repeat with the second half.salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photo Combine all the ingredients. salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photoAdjust any of the seasonings if desired.salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photo

Roasted Asparagus Potato Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrettesalmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photo
2 1/2 pounds new red potatoes (can also be called “B” potatoes)
1 pound asparagus, standard size
2 tablespoons oil
Salt
Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.  Set aside.

Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with several inches of water. salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photoBring the water to a low boil.  salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photoCook the potatoes until just tender.  Do not boil hard and do not overcook.  Remove from the water and cool.  Cut into bite size pieces.salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photo

Trim the bottoms of the asparagus. Place on the prepared baking sheet.  Pour the oil over the asparagus.  salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photoMix to coat the spears with oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photoBake for 10 minutes.  Remove.  Cool.  Cut the asparagus into bite size pieces.salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photo

Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
1 small clove garlic
1/4 cup packed basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Zest of one lemon
1/3 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup vegetable oil

In the meantime, drop the garlic down the feedtube of a processor while it is running.  Scrape down to make sure it is finely minced.  Add the basil (make sure it is dry if it has been washed) and process to finely cut it.  Scrape the processor down and process several times to mince really finely.

Add all of the remaining ingredients except the vegetable oil.  Process briefly.  With the machine running, slowly pour the oil down the feedtube.  This can be made several days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

Combine the potatoes and asparagus.  Add about half of the dressing, stirring carefully.  Add as much dressing as desired.  If making ahead, reserve some of the dressing for when you serve the salad.

This is best served at room temperature.

Yield:  6 servingssalmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photo

salmon potato salad poached lemon basil vinaigrette cucumbers cucumber sauce cold Asparagus  food photo

2 comments to Cold Poached Salmon, Cucumber Sauce and Roasted Asparagus Potato Salad

  • Cop Car

    Thanks for updating my education, Helen. In the olden days (when I was a kid), a spider was an iron skillet.

    • Helen S. Fletcher

      Interesting, I had never heard about the skillet. Thanks for that piece of information.